Knowing the company you plan to join should be
an important part of your job search.
It allows you to get a preview into the organisation and find
out if you will fit in and enjoy your new job. It should give
you information to answer the question- Do your goals match with
those of the organisation?
You do not want any unpleasant surprises once you have changed
your job. You would also not welcome a move which turned out to
be detrimental for your career. In order to reduce dissonance
post a job-change, it is advisable then to research your prospective
When and how should researching the prospective employers be
Research the prospective employer before applying for
At the outset you need to draw up a list of organisations that
you would be interested in applying to, based on broad indicators
like industry, product/services offered and your prior experience.
This would, of course, be done keeping in mind your career goals.
The second step would be to evaluate each of these prospective
employers against a set of criteria established by you. This set
should be as detailed and exhaustive as possible in order to give
you as much relevant information as you can get regarding the
organisation. This evaluation should enable you to classify companies
into two groups- the ones that you definitely need to apply to
and the others that do not fit in with your career goals.
The third step would be to send your resume to the short-listed
organisations and wait for interview calls. The information you
have gathered during your research of the company would help you
give better and well informed answers regarding the organisation
you are interviewing with, the work you think you could be doing
there etc. This will project you as a keen and dedicated candidate
who has done his homework and is aware of the company. And of
course, once you are made a job offer your research will help
you decide if the job and company fit in with your career plans.
The focus of this article will be on the second step i.e. evaluating
your prospective employers before you apply for specific job positions
i.e. before you send out your resume.
Establish criteria and prioritise what is important
for your job
To evaluate prospective employers, you need to establish certain
criteria. A detailed list of criteria should cover different aspects
such as the organisation culture, its market reputation, its growth
prospects, requirements of your job etc. Once this exhaustive
list has been drawn up, you also need to prioritise what criteria
are important for you in your job. This will help you to compare
different job offers and choose the one that satisfies your requirements
This is what your detailed list of criteria could look like.
You could divide the criteria into different categories:
The company background
Performance of the company
About your prospective job
This list has 30 criteria listed and you could add some others
that you can think of. An research like this on your prospective
employer would provide invaluable information to help you decide
on the most suitable employer for you that would match your needs
and your career goals.
Word-of mouth a significant source of information
This list can serve as an excellent guide to gather information
on the prospective employer but the important question here is
from what sources? The information source needs to be reliable,
accurate and up to date.You could use alternative sources of information
for this purpose such as:
A few comments on these information sources. Company home pages
are useful, however you need to remember that they will tell you
what they want you to know in order to project themselves positively.
Not that there is anything wrong in that. It's just that you could
also look elsewhere.
One of the significant sources is word of mouth, that is talking
to people currently working in the organisation or people who
have earlier worked in that organisation and have since left.
This could give useful information on work environment, organisation
structure, job content, management style and personnel. You would
get a real feel of what the organisation is like from these first
Let's hope an exhaustive research like this of your prospective
employers ensures that you take the right decision and join a
great place to work!